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Sweet Briar Goes to School

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Sweet Briar's parents think she's the sweetest thing in the whole world. But Sweet Briar is a skunk, and she smells like one too. At school, all the other kids make fun of her. No one wants to play with her at recess, and horrible Wormwood Weasel makes up mean songs about her. How can Sweet Briar show them that there's more to her than just her scent?

Karma Wilson has written a tender and funny read-aloud that young children will want to hear again and again. With glowing ...

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Overview

Sweet Briar's parents think she's the sweetest thing in the whole world. But Sweet Briar is a skunk, and she smells like one too. At school, all the other kids make fun of her. No one wants to play with her at recess, and horrible Wormwood Weasel makes up mean songs about her. How can Sweet Briar show them that there's more to her than just her scent?

Karma Wilson has written a tender and funny read-aloud that young children will want to hear again and again. With glowing illustrations by LeUyen Pham, Sweet Briar is sure to win over many hearts and noses this season.

Illustrated by LeUyen Pharm.

The other animals at school make fun of Sweet Briar because she is a skunk and has a strong smell, until she uses her scent to chase away a hungry wolf.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Sweet Briar was a skunk, and she smelled like one too. As Sweet Briar grew, so did her aroma," writes Wilson (Bear Snores On). Though named for the roses growing in her yard, Sweet Briar still suffers the slings and arrows of classmates who make fun of her strong scent. One day Wormwood Weasel coins a taunting rhyme-"Stinky Sweet Briar,/ She's no rose!/ When she walks by,/ Plug up your nose!"-and the next day the students show up with paper clips on their noses. All this leaves the skunk in a miserable, tail-dragging mood until she puts her odiferous powers to work to save Wormwood from a wolf. Empathizing children (not to mention those who identify with the heroine) won't find much comedy in the cruelty of snickering classmates, and even the nickname Sweet Briar's parents call her takes on an unfortunate connotation ("Little Squirt"). Pham's (Before I Was Your Mother) sympathetic full-color spreads and spot illustrations focus on those heartbreaking first days at school; one scene shows Sweet Briar peeking out forlornly from under a desk during a game of hide-and-seek in which no one bothers to look for her. The watercolors feature wide-eyed anthropomorphic expressions and soothing hues that wrap the tale in a velvety coziness; she dots the woodland browns and mossy greens with the bright colors of the animals' clothing. This tale of childhood teasing rings all too true-to-life, but ends conveniently when the benefits of having a skunk for a friend outweigh her use as a scapegoat. Ages 4-8. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
When Sweet Briar goes to school on her first day, all the other children make fun of her strong scent. But this little skunk wins the hearts and thanks of her classmates just by doing what comes naturally. When a wolf appears in the schoolyard, all the children panic, except Sweet Brian who lifts her tail and sends the wolf running! Karma Wilson gives interesting and purposeful names to the supporting characters, who are all disagreeable in some way or another — Ragweed, Wormwood, Persimmon. This tale is about making friends with children who cannot seem to see past the obvious (her skunk scent) to appreciate true worth, and natural bravery. 2003, Dial Books/Penguin Putman, Ages 3 to 6.
—Rosemary A. Chase
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1-Sweet Briar, a small and slightly odiferous female skunk, is new to Miss Chickory's class and is shunned by the other students. However, the school faces bigger problems since a local wolf has been spotted in the nearby woods. When he snatches one of the youngsters during recess, Sweet Briar bravely acts to save the loudest of her tormentors and earns the friendship of all. Warm watercolor art with a broad range of cartoon animal expressions fills the pages of this traditional story of a misfit who forces those around her to look beyond the surface to see her sweet nature. Children just entering school will relate to her determination and swing of emotions. They will also appreciate the sweet smell of success.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803727670
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Karma Wilson
Karma Wilson

Karma Wilson is the author of the bestselling BEAR books illustrated by Jane Chapman, ONE DAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOG illustrated by Joan Rankin, and many other award-winning picture books. She lives with her family in Fortine, Montana. She can also be found at karmawilson.com.

Jane Chapman is the best-selling illustrator of Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson, as well as Mommy Mine by Tim Warnes, her husband. Jane and Tim live in rural southwest England with their son, Noah, and share a studio at home with views of the open countryside.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2004

    Good springboard for discussion

    This is a first time at school story in which the main character is taunted, teased, and excluded by her peers because she a skunk, who is obviously not as fragrant as her name, Sweet Briar might suggest. Her classmates will not sit next to Sweet Briar, nor do they have anything nice to say about her. Even Sweet Briar's parents unknowingly contribute to the problem by calling her 'Little Squirt' and advising her 'to hold her tail up high.' Papa aka The Terrible Tickler is certain she 'is the sweetest thing in the world' to which a more realistic Sweet Briar whispers 'No, I'm not.' The text is over burdened by alliterative names, such as: Persimmon Possum, Ragweed Rat, and Wormwood Weasel. Pham's delicate illustrations gently depict the sadness experienced by Sweet Briar caused by constant and cruel rejection. The little skunk is shown trudging home with her tail dragging. The appearance of a convenient wolf, who has been frequenting the playground allows Sweet Briar to become the heroine by spraying the attacker, thereby saving the day. Those students who have been victims of teasing and taunting will not relate to this perfectly contrived ending. However, the subject of prejudice, discrimination, and bias provides an excellent catalyst for discussion about universal feelings, as well as, an opportunity to explore possible solutions for dealing with abhorent behavior in the classroom and life.

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